With a great contest wrecked by a lame ending, we only place certainty in the fact that he who pays the piper calls the tune.- Longtom
I was surfing D-Bah (yesterday) and it was pumping but whatever.- Gabriel Medina, on the WSL's Sunday 'postponements'
Look; I'm not wasting your time or mine in giving a detailed run-down of the GC contests. Longtom writes circles around me, and the contest finished two-and-a-half days ago.
Let's keep it relevant, and to the point.
I'm taking a leaf out of the WSL's book, and breaking down my list of winners based on their annual award categories. Hopefully the WSL agree with my nominations come next year's gala:
Wave of the Event
The judges and I agree for once; Gabriel Medina's massive straight air, to air-reverse, to tail waft.
Move of the Event
Jordy Smith's corked out full-rotation with clean frontside grab. There were a lot of contenders in this category, and many of them were worthy for the title, but Jordy was unlucky not to win the heat IMO, so he can win this hollow award instead.
Heat of the Event
The final was close, and it caused plenty of controversy, and the Jordy vs. Italo SF was similar, but the R4 match-up between Filipe and John John gets the nod. The waves were classic, early-morning DBah, and both surfers were surfing well. Filipe just needed one more set to come his way, and he may have pulled out the score.
Italo may have lost a few fans with his controversial win, but it was hardly his fault. Few can deny his red-hot form for the duration of the event, including an airshow victory along the way. Italo wasn't even in title contention during the Pipe finale last year, despite winning 3 events, but he's looking good for 2019:
Caroline Marks is also an undisputed fan favourite. She rips, seems super-nice, and is still very much on the upwards trend as far as her surfing goes. If she doesn't retire with at least one world title, I'll be amazed.
The DBah Pro made for a slightly tough fantasy event, with favourites Kelly, Julian and even Filipe stumbling early. Fortune favoured the brave when it came to wildcards (Reef especially) and rookies (Seth).
Rocky Occhilupo was our first FSS champion for 2019, and will take home some brand new Josh Kerr 3Dfins as well as a FSS prize pack.
Nick Telford will be thanking the judges for Italo's win, as his 15th place earned him our 'lucky door prize', which goes to the player whose rank matches the jersey no. of the event champion (Italo has jersey 15). Nick also scores himself a set of Josh Kerr fins.
The 'lucky door prize' will be available for every event this season. It serves as a little sweetener for everyone who fields a team but isn't in the running for the top prize (although, the surfers' jerseys only go up to 99, so you'll need to place inside the top 100).
Our last prize is thanks to our sponsor Who Gives a Crap (WGAC); a company who make quality toilet paper with zero plastic packaging and use their profits to fund sanitary projects in developing nations.
We'll send a 6-pack of WGAC toilet paper to the player who finishes in last place for each event. It can be used to clean up their fantasy mess, wipe away their tears, or just, you know, as toilet paper. They also get $10 towards a WGAC purchase, just in case they realise how awesome the product and ideology truly are. For the Gold Coast event, StoneMotherless gets the dubious honour of winning the poo tickets. We've emailed him, but he's yet to reply...
It wouldn't be a surf-stats article without a few metrics. Here's the numbers that jumped out at us from the Gold Coast:
4 - the number of event wins Italo has had in the past 12 months; Bells, Keramas, Portugal, and Gold Coast. Two of those are up next on tour. This is the same number of event wins as 2x world champion John John Florence
65 - percent of men's tour events won by Brazilian surfers since the start of the 2017 season; 1x Willian, 1x Adriano, 4 x Italo, 4 x Filipe, 5 x Gabriel. If you only count from event 4 in 2017 (Rio), it's 75%
17 - age of Caroline Marks. She's already got a full season under her belt, and she's currently leading the title race. Oh, and she tears at Bells.
2 - inches that Italo has over Caroline (5'5'' vs. 5'7'').
11.59 - the Average Heat Score (AHS) for the 2019 men's event at the GC. The average across all men's GC events since 2013 has been 12.87, and this has been the lowest since that year.
31.5 - average seeding of the the 4 surfers eliminated after R2 of the men's event. Caio (34th seed), Kelly (33rd), Jadson (30th) and Leo (29th) were all that we eliminated after 16 heats and 2 rounds of competition. If the new format continues to force a full day of competition just to eliminate the bottom seeds, then perhaps we can look at reducing the size of the tour...
48757 - the magic number you would score if you had the perfect FSS team. To score this you'd need to have the winner (10000), runner-up (7800), both 3rd-place-getters (6085/6086) and all other quarter-finalists (4745-4748). It's not the prettiest number, but it aligns with the WSL's tour scoring and it should be your benchmark from this point onward.
So, that was the Gold Coast (actually, the Tweed Coast to be exact, but don't mention it to QLD tourism). The forecast for Bells isn't amazing, but we'll cover that in detail during our event preview in a few days.
Until then, remember to register your fantasy teams to be in the running for prizes.